INTRODUCTION: My name is Mary Anne Gerzanick-Liebowitz. I am the Assistant Coach at Oregon State University and I have the honor of introducing to you our next speaker, Eddie Reese. Since taking over the swimming program at the University of Texas in 1978 Eddie has established a tradition of excellence in Austin and set the standard for collegiate swimming. Coach Reese has been honored by the ASCA Coach of the Year in 2004, 2005 and 2006. He has been an 8 time NCAA Coach of the Year. He has been a 3 time United States Men’s Olympic Team Head Coach. Adding to his many athletes, Coach Reese has developed 41 individual champions, 29 National Champion Relays, 129 All Americans and 26 Olympians who have received 29 Gold Medals. Additionally, he has received honors from the College Swimming Coaches Association and has been inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame and has been elected as an Honor Coach and inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame. On a personal note, Eddie Reese is married to his lovely wife Eleanor. They have two daughters and Eddie is the proud grandfather of four so, please help me in welcoming Coach Eddie Reese.
COACH REESE. So – I get to start off with grandkids. I will tell you something that – to me – is a bit amazing. We got two of them that live in Austin. The 6 year old turns 7 today. The 5 year old turned 5 a little while back and they went to a Pre-Kindergarten and did an hour and a half of classroom arts and crafts a day, a half an hour of gymnastics, a half an hour of swimming.
Now the little girl went two years – she went twice a week. The little boy has been two years – twice a week. He is going three times a week and at age 4 he was the best butterflier I have ever seen – at least at that age and I don’t remember too far back anyway, but the reason he is – they do that and then twice a week their mom takes them to a rock wall and the girls swam 30 minutes, three days a week this summer.
The 6 year old went 19 for 25 free and a 23 for 25 fly and I know Rock’s daughter beats that, but still and she can fly kick like a lot of my guys wish they could. We must expose them and expose them in the right direction.
I go to the rock wall with them, not all the time. Evan, which is the 7 year old girl – her deal is not to climb it and time it one time – her deal is to do it ten times without stopping.
We are a product of what we do. I mean, I have got swimmers who are going to the rock wall now. They do not want to climb it once, much less twice.
So we are talking about strength. It is a subject dear to my heart for a number of reasons. I started a different strength program when I was in college. I didn’t see any sense to doing things that – with a weight that replicated the length of time of my events. I was trying to drop the 400 IM because we had to exercise so long for that. That was back in the old days and I was in graduate school and I did a personal study, after I got out of swimming of course. I did a personal study with weight training. I did a number of studies.
The Research Quarterly was a big publisher of any study done connected to exercise and activities. I looked through it and it said the best weight program for strength was three sets of six so I started doing that then and I have done some form of that from then until now which is over 40 years. It doesn’t mean it is right for age groupers.
There are different people that are at different levels for gaining strength. If we took this room and I would only do it if I had to – that is alright – somebody got it. If we were to take this room and start an exercise program. We would do ten pushups and it wouldn’t matter because it is about you. Whether they were off your knees or whether you did them with your hands up on a raised level or your feet on a raised level. It would be where you start. We are going to do 10 pushups every 5 minutes for 30 minutes. For some of us we could do that three weeks and gain strength. For a lot of us you couldn’t gain anything out of that. That might have worked for you when you were 8.
My other grandchildren are 10 and soon to be 14. I pay them a dime a pushup and I am not paying any of you that, but typical first child, second child – the first child does 50 a night. The second child does 150 a night and when I put them on this I did it because you are never an expert in your own home or in your son-in-laws. Life in the big city. The older boy was substitute on the basketball team, playing forward, 2 to 4 points a game.
The younger boy was a swimmer and not very fast and they started the pushups in May. When they got it done 4 weeks, the older boy was starting point guard and scoring 10 or 12 a game. Because where he was, he had arms that go from here and he can grab his other ear. He should be a swimmer. Everybody has told him that so he is not. Cross-country, lacrosse and basketball and he has gotten real good at all of them, but still he is the kind we want in the sport. He is going to be 6’ 4” or 6’ 5”, long arms. A stock, that if he were a stock, I would invest in him.
In the 10 year old boy – he was like 8 at the time I started to do this – dropped 30 seconds in his 100 IM in four weeks. It is all strength and push-ups are a different strength than a bench press. Because it does involve core and at that level, that age group core is very important.
College age, they would love for it to be a half an hour important, and it is not. Core is really important, but 5 to 8 minutes is all we do it because a lot of the stuff we do involves it. So paying your swimmers a dime a pushup would go a long way, not too much.
But you know that we have a very extensive testing program in the swimming world now, because of people trying to find easier ways to get there – by taking drugs. I am all for it. You know, a lifetime ban suits me. I would rather see – I am totally behind the hard workers, but strength is very important.
People that are best when they are younger are usually the stronger ones. I can remember, I can’t call him a young man – he used to be, but when he was a swimmer in California at 10 and unders, ranked in the nation at 11 and 12. May have been 1st in a lot of things and he was tall and slender, but he hadn’t really grown a lot and he grew a lot. He disappeared from age 13 to age 16 and made a great comeback. I think he was 1st or 2nd in the 400 IM at a US Nationals. Get this, in East Carolina College. That was a long time ago, but his strength had to catch up to his limb length because he was working. That was back in the days, he was swimming for Don Gambril. They were going 7 doubles a week so the recovery practice didn’t exist.
Alright, here we go.
10 and unders. Most of them are going to get strength just by swimming and you do not have to settle for that, but you can keep their exercises simple. Pushups off the knees. No big deal. If they want to do them if they cannot do five pushups regular, do that. Those are called half-pushups. My team does them.
Sit-ups, you know what crunches are. Sit-ups or crunches. Do you know why crunches came about? They took a group of non-exercisers over the age of 40 and had them do sit-ups. Now I don’t remember if their legs were straight or their knees were up, but they did sit-ups and if you haven’t done much in your life and you start doing sit-ups, you are not really strong enough to pull up so you use your back muscles and they get sore. Out of this study they decided that sit-ups were bad for you and so we had to find a better way to do sit-ups. So that is how crunches came about.
We do regular sit-ups. Knees in the air, heels right next to the hips, somebody holding the feet down. They hold a rubber band behind their head that is tied to something that won’t give and they do a sit-up with the surgical tubing. So as they sit up, instead of it getting easier because of the pull of the surgical tubing, it gets more difficult. And we do not have any back problems, but we work into this. The first two and half to three weeks of school we don’t do those. We do regular sit-ups timed.
You know what pull-ups are. A lot of them are not going to be able to do pull-ups. The best way to learn to do pull-ups. Instead of you standing there and pushing the up, which will make you stronger which is a good thing, but early in the week you will wear out on that kind of stuff. You get a chair, pull up or get up. If you have to jump over the bar and take four seconds to let yourself down. Do two sets of 8. Guaranteed, no matter who you are – no, I take that back. You will be able to do two pull-ups in three weeks, but it is a start. It is where you are. You have got to start there. Not everybody can start the same. Wouldn’t that be great? We could keep them all together. No, it means we are going to have to think about it.
Do you know what a horizontal ladder is? You walk it this way. Do you know what parallel bars are? Support like this. From what I have read and what I have seen and talked to doctors about – you do not want 10 and unders on a parallel bar. Their sternum and their scapulas are not ready to hold them for some of the children. So I am not going to take a chance on any of them. I would rather them do hanging stuff.
Ideally, I would like to have a zip line from a tree to the ground and have them hook up to it and pull themselves up, that is what I would really like. That is not quite a horizontal ladder, it’s a slightly vertical ladder.
Safety. You will see safety every time I talk about any age group. You must be safe. If one of my swimmers, if he gets a twinge from doing something in the weight room I will move him back and start lighter with him. If it happens again I will find another exercise that will allow him to get the same muscle use, but it will put him in the same position.
Technique. Do it right. Do your push-ups right. Before 2004 I knew that I had to be in good shape because I was going to be Coach of the Olympic Team.
In May, I started doing push-ups. I started doing five push-ups every five minutes for 30 minutes twice a day and I lifted weights, but it was different. Once again, it involves core. I do not do much core. Maybe about the same amount of flexibility I can do and I am really working on that. I will do another one of those next year. I just – some things at my age – if you don’t like it – don’t do it.
But anyway, to make a long story short, when we were in training camp, three months later I had gradually worked my push-ups up. Frank Busch and I had a push-up contest. I would do 15 push-ups – he would do 15. I did 16 – he did 16. We went up to 25 during the morning workout. Now, it wasn’t that close together. It was within two minutes. That afternoon we came back and started at 25 and went back down. It is 450 push-ups. I was doing 300 to 500 a day. I can tell you right now, it is the epitome of diminishing returns. I mean I got more tired out of that, than strength. So I found that I am best at 100 or 150 a day.
I try to do those straight without a breath – I am kidding. Some days I do them in 10’s, 20’s, or 30’s. It depends on what I feel like.
I also went through a period in my life where I tried to exercise eight or ten months, stopping before it hurt. Isn’t that ideal? I want to tell you, my physicalness moved backwards like I wasn’t doing anything. So whoever made up that saying about pain and gain, they were right. It was a shocker to me because I tested before I started and just went through it. You know, right before it started hurting – back out. In Texas we call that the “crawfish” because they all back up – they don’t go forward and I just backed out of it.
I would put my guys on a rock wall, but we had to go through a course at school and I can’t get them to do that. Running for younger kids, absolutely, absolutely.
11 and 12’s. Not a whole lot different with that group. They are a little more physically mature. If I did tethered swimming, which I like, it wouldn’t be for long and I wouldn’t put them out there for 15 minutes.
When we get somebody with a bad knee or something they can’t push off, like one of the Olympic breaststrokers Scott Spann. He had a knee operation and within two weeks he was running on it. He didn’t ask anybody. His dad is an orthropod, so that kind of thought doesn’t run in the family and he is back in for another knee operation. He couldn’t get back into the water until after NCAA’s and we had to tether him. We would swim him a minute breaststroke pull, a minute freestyle pull, drift backwards, take 30 seconds. We would just keep doing that, but I can see that for younger swimmers for 15 or 30 second bursts.
I do not feel good about stroke when you are not strong enough to get your hand through in the right pattern with nothing stopping you. Because when you swim, your hand doesn’t pull through the water. It goes in here and you go by it. When you are tethered you must pull that hand through the water because the body doesn’t give and it is much, much harder.
11 and 12’s. Sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups. I have included dips in this group and I know that. I have got guys on my team that cannot do dips. I have got one guy that is 6’ 6” and has got a 7’ 2” wing span and if I get the right strength to him I will become famous and I have got a 6’ 8” kid – 7’ wing span and it is all about strength. They can strain and do a couple of dips so we have one of those dip-assist items. We have got the real old school dip-assist where you put weights on one end of something and it is balanced and you stand on the other end and the weights come up and so I have got them doing 8’s or 10’s on that. Three rounds and in two or three weeks they will have it. Push-ups are easy to get, dips are almost as easy.
Horizontal ladder, if you want to make it harder. Because we used to run a horizontal ladder in our obstacle course at school for my team during fall and spring. We used to make them walk the horizontal ladder with their arms at 90 degrees and then we would walk it, you do a pull-up between each bar and walk it. There are a lot of ways to let them hurt.
Once again safety, just like when you do your dips, you do not need or want your shoulders to go below your elbows. Just like when we do a lot of jumping and they do not go down with their hips or below their knees. Anything below that you can have your knees injured above that, but once you bend that knee and you go below it, you are more at risk to hurt the knees. Especially when somebody gets to jumping and then they get tired and they quit catching their landing like they should catch it. Okay, I am moving on.
13 – 14. I am really good. I am a good speller, aren’t I? Or you are not catching any of my mistakes. I didn’t have any paddles in 11 and 12, but you have got to realize, it wasn’t until the mid-90’s that I had anybody on my team wear paddles. I was one of these guys – we swam with a buoy and a kickboard and a tube and that was it. We didn’t use paddles. I wasn’t against them – just everybody that came to my program that had a shoulder problem had been in paddles and now I know a lot of people use paddles and I am not seeing the shoulder problems and I like that.
Similar exercises. Well, you know what parachutes are and whatever. There are a lot of neat things out there that you can use, donuts, all those kind of things. We have done a lot of swimming with surgical tubing where you sprint down as hard as you can and we have got records for their own surgical tubing for them doing a 25 and then they come back. I don’t care if they sprint back or what, they just can’t breathe. So usually that gives them the desire to go a little faster. I try to keep their breathing down so they do not use all the air that I could be using.
Do you know what a rope climb is? We have always had a rope that was 20 feet up which gymnasts used to compete in the rope climb. They would go from a seated position on the floor and climb hand over hand to the rope and touch something and if I am not mistaken – the record from floor to top on a 20 foot rope was like 2.4 seconds. So it is like most of us running up that rope and I have seen them do it. Product of what we do.
We went to a circus three weeks ago and watched the women climb up the ladders, hand over hand because they do it a lot. You can’t start out doing it a lot. We are product of what we do. You can’t think about it or wish about it. You have got to get out there and do it.
If you have got people that – 1. You have to make a rule on the rope climb, no falling. That really helps to make that rule. You can start it where they get to use their feet going up and use their feet coming down. Then, you go to using their feet going up and not using their feet coming down and no dropping. They have got to do it and the thing that you watch out on a rope climb, they have a tendency to allow it to jerk them and that does cause elbow problems which I can ignore because it didn’t hurt me very badly.
Rope climb is their own body weight and I remember when “” was coaching at Texas. He was coaching an age group team and he had a young lady that still holds the record for the rope climb the most consecutive times and I think it was feet both ways, but it was something like ten cycles, something crazy. My guys couldn’t it.
I do like the rock wall and everything that it involves. I have got some guys in my weight program now that are really working on their forearms. The forearms and the calves are real hard to develop because they are on the outer extremities. You know, if you are a blacksmith or something and you are pounding that 3 pound hammer all day long for 25 years you will develop forearms. Have you ever shaken hands with a tennis player? I mean, look at Nadal. He has got one arm and he has got a string hanging out of the other sleeve. That is not true. I have seen him in person, but there is a marked difference in the arm or the system that is used. That is a little bit why we do a lot of bilateral breathing, to keep the body as balanced as possible.
Alright, 15 to 17. It is mainly about strength. You can get stronger with all the equipment you use. Whether it is paddles or whatever it is.
Paddles, it is a real simple equation. You have increased the resistance area on the end of a fulcrum so it takes more muscle fibers firing at the same time to move that arm. That is a good thing, but after a while it moves to something other than strength. Because if I feel like strength and speed, I can’t get in the water. There is nothing I can do in the water, six or eight repetitions or four repetitions that we are going to fatigue on. Especially when it comes to holding a stroke or you would have to let water go somewhere. Your paddle would have to be about five times your hand, so we do our strength in the weight room. I think it is why my swimmers continue to improve their junior and senior year, because they get stronger.
Younger swimmers, as I said earlier, get 3-6% improvement because they are alive. Once males, females even sooner than males, once they get to a certain age that drops to 1%. Not enough to make a difference. You have got to get them or you have got to help them make a difference in the strength program.
Alright, dry land or weight room? I was asked that this morning, at least I thought I was asked about age groupers going into the weight room. Granted, there are some mature enough to do it. There is an exception to every rule, but I have got some requirements to go in the weight room and lift, particularly for age groupers. If you can’t do 40 good pushups in a minute or more – for some people it is not hard, for some they will never get there. Long arms, red fiber people can’t move fast enough, can’t gain the strength. 80 to 100 sit-ups in two minutes, real sit-ups. 5 to 8 pull-ups. 12 to 15 dips.
Might make the pull-ups a little bit easier for the girls, but if you look at the women who have been dominant in our country in swimming. Dara, I watched Dara do two sets of five pull-ups with 35 extra pounds. That is amazing. I know that Jenny Thompson, Amy Van Dyken, Betsy Mitchell, you may not know some of these names. World Record Holders, Olympic medalists, all could do over 20 pull-ups. So they had strength, however they got it. Either by exercising or genetically, they had the strength. And that is for most swimmers, that is very important.
Alright, if they can’t do it all, they do not need to go in. When you do go in, you keep the repetitions up. Everybody knows what a bench press is. If you are doing one, like everybody wants to see how much they can do. I do not even let my swimmers do that, but younger athletes, your swimmers, age groupers, their joints are not fully formed. Holding that bar up there with the weight on it to do a single is a shearing force on that joint and they are not ready for that. Don’t let them do that.
We do test in the weight room with my group, but I tell them every time, they must do it twice. I do not want them to do one and then one and a half or fail. They must be able to do the weight twice for it to count as a test. I would rather, we do an 8 – 6 – 4 – 2 when we test. I would rather do another set of 2 if they think they can do more, but if I am watching and I know it is a big strain I don’t let them do it. As I said this morning, the weight room is not here and everything else is here. Everything is right there. There are steps to get there.
How many times have you seen the swimmer that you thought, they are going to be great, but it still takes time. Coaches don’t like the time. Parents don’t like the time – swimmers don’t, but it takes time.
I have had two slender athletes. I had one guy that is 6’ ½” tall go 47 low, 22 low out of high school. That was a long time ago. 1:43.02 200 free. 6’ 1/2” tall, 1:39. His favorite song was “I Ain’t Got Nobody”. It is tough to laugh after lunch, I realize that. You are coming.
I had never seen anybody gain strength so fast. He ended up his career at 49 low in the 100 meter free, made two of our Olympic teams, but in like a year and a half he got to 160, but he got there strongly. He could do it, get away from it for weeks and he kept the strength. That is purely genetics. It is nothing I did. I wish I knew how to do that.
I have got another guy that is a senior this year – 6’ 2 ½” 1:35 at his high school state meet. You can hold him up to a light and see his bone structure, literally. And all we have been trying to do is get him to gain weight. There are some of them, it is not going to happen. It just doesn’t happen until it is their time. We can’t force it and he has been in my weight program for three years and his arms look like my 13 year old grandson’s arms, but he is working. He is doing everything he can do. Real good kid. But anyway, he was 21 high, 47 low. He has been 50 flat for 100 meters. I know with suits, I am not sure what that means, but he is going to be a factor. He is just a smart kid and he is willing to do what it takes.
So, if you go in the weight room, please do not let your swimmers think it is a reward. It is just another step along the way and all the steps you hit make it better for you when you take the next step. Do not try to jump any of those steps. There are no short cuts in our sport.
Our sport is the greatest in the world. It is an accountability sport. You cannot fool it. You cannot trick it. You have got to work it. If you go in the weight room, I go in the weight room every day with my group. I do my own workout, but I walk around with them and I know where they are and I know we have got a real good strength coach that makes them do good technique. He guards the heavier stuff that we do because we do free squats and we do dead lift and he is death on technique. I am somewhere around a first degree yellow belt in technique, that is opposed to a black belt.
Never test with singles, I said that. The exercises that I feel like you should do, because you can get in there and you can find exercises for every muscle group. There is bench press, lat pulls, leg press – much, much safer than free squats. They always say to do free weights, you build more strength. But only if you are ready to build more strength. Dips, leg extensors, curls – you have got to put in curls because they like it.
If you could see the stuff we are doing in the weight room now. We are doing exercises I have never seen in my life. And this is the time of the year I said, you do my six or seven and then you do whatever else you want to do. We got the weight room schedule for 50 minutes. I have not got a swimmer that is not in there less than an hour and a half and that is because they want to be there. I get there at 1:30. We are at the pool at 2, there are twenty guys in there already. So what it looks like is they are overcoming the coach.
Horizontal rows. That is where you are seated, pull here, goes into the back. I don’t like this. We do not do anything over the head. I do not want to develop these muscles. I do not want to develop the deltoids and the trapezius. Just more to get tired, just when you are recovering. And I know that there are a lot of people that do Olympic lifting, but it depends on – strength is relative to what you were doing.
If you had been in my strength program, then I have to get help to find a harder one for you to move up, but if you have been in a dry land program, no weights. Then I have got to be real careful with that person because if you take the swimming and what you do outside of the water, exercise-wise, and you look at that – no matter who you are – how best to say this? They are only going to go so fast that year. That is all they can do, is this. If you work them too hard, guaranteed it will be this.
My freshmen are always this and then they get better by leaps and bounds, but I tend to overwork – no I don’t. I tend to work them just right and kill them.
I have got a basketball player, 12 months a year from the 7th grade through the 12th grade. His last basketball game was on a Tuesday, State Meet was on that Friday, two days later or three days later. And he is a good basketball player, but he is going to be a great swimmer. He swam 4,000 three days a week, split 43.5 on a free relay, 54.8 100 breast. 6’ 8” and went 22.0 fly leg of the medley. 1:38 200 free. If he comes to both practices, he is going to die. I am really debating, does he come 2 one hour mornings a week and I just work on flutter kick, fly kick and breaststroke kick with him. Because if I do too much, he swims here. If I do just right, which I don’t believe I have ever done, but he swims here. If I do too little he still may swim better than if I do too much, but for the next year I am going to always and for his career – I am going to always err on the side of doing too much.
Sit-ups with surgical tubing. It is another step to take. You have seen them do it on the incline board. This is similar and we have got surgical tubing tied to things that they can sit down. Some of the freshmen are doing it, so they are half way up before the surgical tubing engages. You know, before it resists the half a pound. And the other guys, they are taking it out.
If somebody has been in my program three years or two years and freshman comes in and I have got the freshmen doing the same thing that guy is doing, I am not very smart. Because he cannot do that, not if I run a good program and make it harder every year.
If you got any doubts about it, a lot of injuries, they don’t do it.
Tapering out of the water. Gotta do it. I know how difficult it is for distance swimmers and for the young ladies. Some of my swimmers are out of the weight room for three weeks.
Best taper I have ever seen. I had a guy that tapered and shaved for conference. He tapered for three weeks, did real well. He won all his events at conference. Fast times and we were in the SEC. I was at Auburn at this time. Two and a half weeks, three weeks later, at NCAA’s wins two events and gets second in another one. Two weeks or a week and a half later, US Nationals, University of Texas. He wins two events, one event he hadn’t swum until his senior year – coaching at its best. In fact he just swam a hundred fly his senior year, set the American record and that is the only year that I ever swam him in it. I am usually better than that so we are at about 8 weeks right now. He goes back home. He tells me he went to class, I doubt that. I didn’t see him and he came back out to Texas, I think it was either USA/Russia or USA/East Germany – short course meters meet or dual meet. I said well, he swam went great. He went a minute and 2:12 for a hundred and 200 meter breast and we are talking ’78. Those were fast times. 53 100 meters fly. 2 minutes in 200 meters IM. Short course meters, but those were fast back then. I said, well, what did you do? He said I had the greatest warm-up of my life. I dived in the water and lay on the bottom until I started feeling good. Come up, swim a hundred and that was it.
Alright, he was very tapered. But when we tapered and he got off weights before Conference, he did three sets of two bench press. His last set of two was, and we do it strict, we do it legally, was 305. So he had the strength to pull off a taper like that. If they don’t have much muscle, they don’t taper much.
I used to say, taper starts the first day of practice. But taper is determined by the length of your season, the difficulty of your practices and the consistency of your swimmer in those practices. Just because somebody is as fast as somebody else and they have missed 20% of the practices, there is a good chance they cannot taper like the other person. Or if they do, they may not get the results that they want. So many times I get caught up in taper and just think, well I hope this works and it never does.
Talking a little bit about my level, strength training is an absolute must. Strength is different for everyone, as I have said many times. It is and honestly, I think that I have got the answer for 200 and under guys.
I am not at all pleased with what we do with the distance men. We have good results, but I do not have the guys going from, like the kid that made the Olympic team two years ago. The 6 foot ½ inch guy who went from 47 low to 42.4 in four years, from 22.0 to 19.2 in four years. That is strength. He had the great kick. He could also kick 23.3 for 50 yards flutter kick. That was the fastest I had ever heard of – for a while.
I have changed my program, doing something I have never done. And I do not know how long I stick with it, but so far they like it and I like it. Instead of going Monday, Wednesday, Friday total body, we are going Monday/Thursday – upper body and Tuesday/Friday lower body. And we are trying to really keep that strict and keep the weights out of their hands when we do lower body. Can’t really do that and this is new for me, but I don’t mind taking a chance if I think it is more difficult.
And I do have a problem that it is hard to get them to stop when I want them to and I will admit, when I have doubt – they are out.
Years ago I gave a talk on taper and I think we were in Chicago and it was back when it was survival of the fittest. Where people bludgeoned people in workouts and I was successful, because all I would do is taper them and nobody liked to taper. And I told them that if you have only got one meet, the best taper is four weeks out, you take them out of the water for one week. This is 200 and under swimmers. Then you bring them back in the water and the next three weeks you taper them normally. And I had 20 guys tell me the next year, they had the best season of their life doing that, but you only got to have one meet to aim for and you have got to work them along the way.
If you could take Ryan Lochte and increase his strength 5% without increasing the cross-sectional area, the frontal area that goes through the water, he would be a lot faster. Now I don’t know how to increase somebody’s strength, his strength per pound of body weight has got to be up there, but that is the theory.
Doc Councilman talked about long course swimmers being shaped like barracudas or submarines, just angular featured people. And if you can keep those angular features and get them stronger, that is the name of the game. But you always, to gain muscle, they are going to have to gain some weight.
This is a hard one. Be consistent through your season. In other words, when you come up to a dual meet like when I was – I am still at Texas, but when my brother was at Florida and we would have a dual meet with them. And you know, you go in the building and signs would say – Mom loves Randy best. But Randy and I knew the truth.
But we had to keep – I can remember, by the end of the 500, Florida had won the dual meet with us that year. We went on to win the NCAA’s. So you have got to keep your eye on where you are going with your swimmers. There are little bumps and bruises along the way, they are fine. My swimmers do not listen to me if we are winning all the dual meets. My best seasons, we won most of our NCAA’s when we lose two or three times.
And my swimmers cry when what they are lifting in the weight room goes down after about six weeks in the water. That is normal. That is the way it is supposed to be.
The water work, if you only got a choice of one or the other – go in the water. There is no other choice.
We are all lucky to be in this sport. We have a built in life goal and that is to help people. And we need to keep that in mind.
My wife and I did a non-denominational church retreat one time by ourselves. But it was – there were places to sleep – I mean – there was just no program going on at the time that we were there and they always leave the library open. I was either fishing, she was reading and I was in the library and I was telling her that my glass of pain was full. Because I see swimmers, when you give them a set and they go – that is a negative for me and I hear them. I pay attention to them and we get a lot of negatives in a day. And she reaches up and I don’t know if she saw the book or what and she just pulled it down and said, “read this”. About 80 pages, the name of it was “Leadership is an Art” and I read the protective cover. The first thing it said is “the leader should bear the pain and never give it”. That is real hard to do, but it made me well. In knowing that has made those little jerks easier to take. You gotta say that out loud every once in a while. I hope it doesn’t get back to them.
I read a number of books and probably three a week. All fiction, all escape. But there are always great quotes in them. I really believe the fiction writers have a better grasp on life than a lot of the how-to writers. And one of the quotes in this book, 30 years ago said, you know the old saying that when you die you can’t take it with you and this said, “when you die – you take with you what you have given others” and we have got the perfect job for that.
Thank you very much.